sports gazette

2017 Vitality Netball Superleague preview: Team Northumbria

Published: 15 Feb 2017

The 2017 Vitality Netball Superleague promises to be bigger and better than ever with new players, new coaches and new teams!

Ten sides will battle it out to be crowned champions when the league gets underway on Friday 17th February.

Here Sports Gazette gives you the lowdown on Team Northumbria.

Head of Netball: Te Aroha Keenan. Assistant Coach: Victoria Burgess

Home Venue: Sport Central, University of Northumbria

Squad: Rachel Bird, Evie Brereton, Katarina Cooper, Brie Grierson, Claudia Heath, Tuaine Keenan, Leah Kennedy, Tamsin Moala, Jaydene Robinson, Georgia Rowe, Chiara Semple, Iman Thomas

Team Northumbria had high expectations last year after the arrivals of Sunshine Girls Shanice Beckford and Nicole Dixon, but the two Jamaicans were unable to replicate their fine international form and the team finished sixth.

Te Aroha has kept the core of her young and ambitious squad together, including defensive duo Leah Kennedy and Tuaine Keenan. The pair grew and grew as the 2016 season progressed, developing trust and great on- and off-court chemistry. Both will be hoping to build upon their own impressive personal performances in the new campaign.

After a late season charge and off the back of some strong pre-season displays, Northumbria will be confident of bettering last year’s finishing position.

Katarina Cooper, who will captain the team, is the pick of the off-season signings. It's her first spell in the UK but she'll bring an added steel, strength and power to the mid-court.

First fixture: vs. Hertfordshire Mavericks (A, Friday 17th February at 19:30)

Regular season winner odds: 50/1 (Sky Bet)

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